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Translink Buzzer Blog

About this blog

bloglogoThe Buzzer blog is the online place where TransLink shares news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories directly with customers.

Launched on October 9, 2008, the blog is the web companion to the Buzzer newsletter, the free publication found on all Metro Vancouver transit vehicles since 1916. (Find out more about the Buzzer’s history!)

The blog is a frank, fun, ongoing conversation about TransLink and its work, and you’re invited to join in with your own comments and stories.

After four years, the blog has over 1,900 posts, more than 17,900 comments, multiple in-person meetups, and a 2010 and 2012 Best Blog Award from the American Public Transit Association!

Here’s a list of some notable posts from 2009, if you’re looking for a place to start exploring. And make sure you read the comments on each post. The comments are where the magic happens!

Looking for info on the Buzzer newsletter?

You’ve come to the right place. Here’s a few useful links:

How to contact the Buzzer blog (and more)

You are more than encouraged to write comments on each post—just keep our participation guidelines in mind. (If you want an icon instead of that big G next to your comment, go to and sign up!)

Other ways to contact us:

Comments, e-mails, tweets and the like will be responded to during normal business hours (around 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday), unless your hosts are otherwise occupied.

Who’s behind the Buzzer blog?

The Buzzer blog has one main author: Robert Willis. From time to time, there are also contributions from the TransLink Communications team.

Robert Willis!

Robert Willis joined the team in 2011, and is now the main author and editor on the Buzzer blog and print Buzzer!

Robert was previously a journalist for the CBC and a communications manager for IBI Group. He likes to take transit in any form. You very well might bump into him on a bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, or West Coast Express talking to commuters and taking pictures! Curious about the untold story, Robert is keen to hear about the experiences of others on transit. He also loves robots and Japanese food.


Jhenifer Pabillano was the Buzzer blog’s founding editor, and was also responsible for writing and designing the Buzzer newsletter since January 2008.

Jhenifer Pabillano

Jhenifer Pabillano

(She’s responsible for bringing FareCard contests, the Back Issues history feature, and bright new colours to the publication!) In 2010, Mass Transit magazine also named her one of the Top 40 under 40 in the transit industry!

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Jhenifer moved to Vancouver to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at UBC in 2004. Her U-Pass got her hooked on Metro Vancouver transit, and she’s been a huge fan of the TransLink system ever since! She travels every day on the system and hasn’t driven a car in ages.


 *UPDATE: As of August 2013, Jhenifer has departed from TransLink and the Buzzer family to a new and exciting opportunity at City of Vancouver! We wish her the best of luck.

The Buzzer’s history

The Buzzer was first published on June 2, 1916, distributed on the streetcars that made up public transportation in Metro Vancouver at the time.

Originally, the Buzzer was designed as a strategic weapon in a long-forgotten war between streetcars and ‘jitney’ operators—private citizens who patrolled streetcar routes and offered rides for five cents.

George Kidd, general manager of B.C. Electric—the private electric company that ran public transit at the time—thought the Buzzer would keep people informed about service and foster rider loyalty to the streetcars.

As it turned out, jitney service was abolished in July 1918, but the Buzzer kept going for another 98 years (and counting!).

And today, the Buzzer has become a mainstay of public transit in the Lower Mainland, remaining a constant no matter how much transit itself has changed.

Have a look at the Buzzer blog’s Transit History category for more posts on transit history in greater Vancouver.